If you’re looking for a home for sale in the Birmingham area with loads of space and some beautiful upgrades, check out 214 Lake Forest Way.
This is a 5BR home on one level over a finished basement. The owners have just completed a major upgrade of their Kitchen, and it’s enough to make any Chef envious!
This home is located on a cul-de-sac street in Lake Forest, one of the more desired neighborhoods in the Birmingham area. Zoned for the new Alabaster city school system.
Featuring lots of open space with high ceilings and attractive neutral colors, this home needs nothing.
To give you an idea of how much this great home has to offer, take four minutes and check out the video we’ve produced in high definition. Click the player just below…
If you’re looking to buy a home in the Birmingham, Alabama, area, Lake Forest—a lake and sidewalk neighborhood in Alabaster—is a popular choice for several reasons.
It’s attractive, offers a great quality of life, and is in a convenient location. A number of people who work in Birmingham choose to live in Lake Forest because they enjoy it so much.
Alabaster is also home to the city’s newly formed school system, which has many excited for the future.
Here’s a video update showing homes selling and available in Lake Forest (you can watch this video in high definition if you like—simply click the ‘Full Screen’ icon in the lower right corner of the video window below).
Whether it’s Lake Forest or throughout the north Shelby Co. and south Jefferson Co. areas, we’re ready to help with your home buying or selling needs.
Let us know if we can answer any questions; we’re reachable at 205.356-5412 (voice or text).
Even if you don’t have a child in Alabaster schools…even if you don’t have any connection to the city’s school system, you can’t be around Wayne Vickers long without getting excited.
Alabaster is poised to become a top school system in the state, he’ll tell you. Vickers isn’t bashful. The city’s new school system superintendent, who began his job July 1st, will also tell you how the transformation will happen.
Vickers says Alabaster is in a perfect storm of resources, opportunity and people.
Vickers inspires. His enthusiasm is contagious.
“We will not fail,” he vows.
Many parents have not had the chance to meet Dr. Vickers, or understand his vision for the city’s schools.
So, here’s your chance to hear the man and his plan. Click the player in the video window below, and enjoy!
If you’re looking for a home for sale in the Birmingham area and are wondering what living in the community is like, here’s a taste.
Alabaster, one of Shelby county’s most popular cities, has just concluded another very successful CityFest, a family friendly day of food, arts, crafts, games, rides, entertainment and more, put together by the City of Alabaster with support from area businesses.
Check out our video of the festivities:
You’re looking at what was almost a $2,500 cat.
Colleen and I had a great time helping Juergen and Helga Lauer of Lake Forest in Alabaster sell their home.
The Lauers were moving to Germany.
Getting everything shipped overseas went pretty smoothly…until it came to the Lauer’s two cats.
The moving company said, ‘sure, we’ll ship them—for $2,500 each.’
We guess that was almost enough to put Juergen and Helga into a—pardon the pun—catatonic state.
Surely, the Lauers wondered, there must be a less expensive way to transport two cats from Alabama to Germany!
After some more research, the Lauers found their solution: Delta.
$200 each, flown/done.
No word on what the cats thought of the trip…
Looking for a home for sale in the general Birmingham, Alabama area?
Here’s an update we’ve produced on market activity in Lake Forest, a popular Shelby Co. neighborhood that’s an easy drive into downtown Birmingham:
Let us know if we can help…
If you’re looking to buy a home in the Birmingham area, Lake Forest in Shelby Co. is one of the neighborhoods where you can’t go wrong.
Folks love this area because of its surroundings, which include a lake, walking track, playground and more.
Here’s a look at sales activity in the neighborhood during 2012:
If you’d like help with finding a home anywhere in the greater Birmingham or Shelby Co. area, let us know.
There are plenty of good opportunities out there…
From time to time, people ask us, “How’s business?”
If you look around and ask various Agents throughout the Birmingham area how their business is going, you’re likely to get varied answers. One Agent we spoke with recently has struggled much of the year. Other Agents we know have been doing much better. Colleen and I have had an extremely busy year, for which we’re grateful.
The fact is that—regardless of the economy in general and what’s reported in the news media—homes still sell. That’s because people’s lives change. New jobs, a change in family size or wanting to be closer to a particular area can be among the reasons.
I’ve heard people thinking of selling their home say, “I’ll wait until the economy improves.” To be sure, values are still down considerably, compared to previous years.
But that can also be like saying, “I’m going to buy a new car when the models get better.”
Here in the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area, the number of homes for sale in many communities is down considerably, compared to previous months. In Shelby County’s Alabaster and vicinity, the Birmingham MLS shows 220 homes for sale at present. This continues to be among the lowest numbers we’ve seen.
This drop in inventory is having an effect. Homes for sale that we consider excellent deals don’t stay on the market long. Buyers are out there, and pounce as soon as the excellent deals appear.
I’ve heard some home owners trying to sell without luck lamenting the lack of Buyers. It’s really not that Buyers are scarce. It’s just that they’re finding better deals elsewhere; the homes they wind up buying are in nicer condition, have more features, or are priced more attractively (or maybe all three).
A home needs to have pizazz to sell in the current market, and must be priced to grab a Buyer’s attention.
Homes lacking these attributes typically take much longer to sell (we’ve seen homes remain on market over a year before getting an Offer).
When it comes to getting your home sold, there are definitely success stories in the Birmingham area. Colleen and I recently listed a home in Alabaster that got two Offers and went Under Contract 13 days after going on the market. The Seller was motivated, priced his home so that Buyers had to notice, and has done a lot of fixing up to make his home look nice. The payoff to his work is that his home is set to sell, so he can move.
The drop in inventory being seen in some areas around Birmingham is starting to put a bit of a squeeze on Buyers. The Buyer who sees a really good deal on a home for sale in this area now realizes that there’s a chance to be taken by waiting: Someone else might swoop in and grab the home in the meantime.
If you’re looking to buy a home in the area, our advice is to think about what’s important in a home to you, as well as area, and to contact us (205-356-5412). If you’re planning to get a loan, another critical step to take early in the process is to get in touch with a Lender. Here is a link to some area Lenders we recommend contacting.
Remember that the world of home mortgages can be confusing, because there are so many different kinds of loans and differences in fees, down payments and other charges. A good Lender will be able to sort this out for you to help to simplify your decision.
Getting quotes from other Lenders to compare is a good idea, too; just be sure to understand that comparing different loans effectively means looking at all the overall costs, and not just a single fee that might be higher with one loan. You might also ask about “locking” in your interest rate (which involves being assured of getting the same rate if you wind up buying a little later).
By following these steps, you’ll be on the road to being part of the home sales success stories we’re seeing throughout much of the Shelby Co. and Birmingham area.
As Fisbo, our highly spoiled six pound poodle, and I took our early morning walk a few days ago, I used the time to contemplate how our real estate business has evolved during 2011 and thought about what’s ahead as we kick off 2012.
Our walk was made rather intriguing because the neighborhood was shrouded in fog, limiting visibility sometimes to only a few hundred feet.
You can’t see very far ahead, and as you keep moving, what’s behind you grows increasingly vague.
Predicting home sale trends in Birmingham and Shelby County can be a little like walking into the fog: You can see a certain distance in front of you, but after that, knowing what’s ahead gets tricky.
That’s not to say we’re in a fog about what will happen, market-wise, during 2012. In fact, Colleen and I are optimistic that a lot of people will be buying and selling homes during ’12.
We think it’s going to be a busy and successful year.
Our optimism about ’12 is due in part to 2011, a year that was not only productive for us, but outperformed previous years.
For a lot of people in the Birmingham area, 2011 was a very difficult year, with the April 27th tornado affecting so many thousands of people and Jefferson County declaring the largest municipal bankruptcy in history.
I believe the new year will be one of healing and stories of success.
If You’re Buying:
2012 will be a year of excellent opportunity.
You might have to spend a little more time picking and choosing than during previous years, because inventory in some areas has dropped. This doesn’t mean the good deals are gone. It just means you’ll have to do a little more work to find them. An Agent with a good knowledge of the market as well as sharp negotiating skills will be one of your most valuable assets during this time.
Pricing will continue to be very much in your favor, but if you’re in search of a “steal,” you stand a greater chance of a Seller saying, “no deal.” If inventory continues to drop, Sellers have less competition, and therefore less reason for agreeing to a “fire sale” Offer.
The Buyer who understands and accepts this still stands to get a very good deal.
With no sharp rise in mortgage interest rates on the horizon, ’12 is shaping up to be another year of tremendously low borrowing costs.
If You’re Selling:
You will be in a better position to get your home sold than in some previous years. Home values will continue to be a big challenge, but the news isn’t all bad. With the number of homes for sale dropping in some areas, what has been very much a Buyer’s Market shows signs of changing. That’s a good thing, but the change is going to be gradual.
During ’11, we saw many homes sell for the same price they sold for ten years earlier. This was great for the Buyer, but not for the Seller. Seeing both Buyer and Seller bring checks to the closing table was not uncommon last year.
If you plan to sell during ’12, understanding one “fact of life” about the Birmingham and Shelby Co. real estate market will help: The maximum a Buyer thinks your home is worth may wind up being significantly less than you had anticipated.
We do feel optimistic that the slide in values is beginning to ease. This easing, however, is likely to be so slow and so slight that many people selling in 2012 may not feel it’s very noticeable. It’s important to remember, though, that the slide in home values didn’t happen in a few weeks or months, but rather, took years. Any correction won’t happen fast, either.
And then there’s the matter of your home’s condition. Do you want your home to appeal to a majority of possible Buyers or only a few? In the Birmingham and Shelby Co. area, the overwhelming majority of Buyers we work with want homes that are immaculate, need nothing done, and are “move-in” ready. We do get calls from Buyers looking for places to fix up, but they expect to pay “bottom dollar” for the work they know they’ll have to do.
Price wise, this home was nowhere near our biggest sale. But it’s not about the money.
The Seller had tried to sell five times before, starting three years ago, and not had success.
This was a sizable home in extremely nice, clean condition. But the sales price had never been in alignment with what was taking place in the Shelby Co. market, and we didn’t feel that the property had been marketed correctly.
Lowering the price was not easy for the Seller to do. But we worked hard in marketing the property, and our Seller worked hard, too, cooperating closely with us as we moved toward our common goal.
That team work finally paid off with a successful closing.
It pays to be a student of the market. Many of the sales Colleen and I helped with here in the Birmingham area offer lessons to the wise if you’re thinking of selling during ’12.
A 2011 Low Point:
We had many successful sales last year. But one home we listed in No. Shelby Co. was not destined to be one of them. It stayed on market for five months and never received an Offer. The home was not priced correctly, drew very little interest, and had significant structural issues cited by many of the few Buyers who actually looked inside.
During one phone call, the Seller (who had moved out but was still making monthly payments) says, “I really need to sell this house.” Only seconds later—during the same conversation, as we discuss pricing—he says, “I’m not giving my house away.”
The Seller’s viewpoint could be summed up in five words: Take it or leave it.
Buyers gave their answer.
The experiences from both our High Point and Low Point provide clear support for a prediction we’ll make for the year, though it’s not the boldest call I could make: 2012 will show that price and condition have never been more important in getting your home sold.
Changes To The Dictionary:
As we kick off ’12, I’m also deciding that it’s time to change the definition of some of the terms real estate Agents use (hmmm … am I allowed to do that?).
Agents have long referred to motivated and unmotivated Sellers. These categories don’t exist any longer. A Seller who is determined to do what it takes to get their home sold is, by definition, motivated. They will adjust their price as needed and will make sure their home is immaculate (as so many folks we worked with did last year). These are the people who, in all likelihood, will get to sit at a closing table.
The unmotivated Seller is typically unwilling to price attractively enough to receive an Offer. They also choose not to deal with with the moldy smell in the basement or the rotted wood that needs to be replaced. This person is not a Seller. They are a home owner. If they do happen to receive an Offer, it is likely to be for an extremely low price.
This year will be another time of great opportunity in real estate. If you’re giving thought to buying or selling a home, you no doubt have questions. Whether you’re a veteran or just starting out, Colleen and I hope you will feel welcome to contact us for assistance.
Feel free to call us at 205.356.5412 or 205.677.8686. Or e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And we’re on Facebook, if you’d like to join us.
As for walking through the fog, I look forward to it. What might be ahead may not always be known, but if you’re determined to keep moving, the scene gets clearer as you forge onward.
Our optimism and positive thinking have us excited … we know there are lots of opportunities ahead.
We look forward to being part of your 2012 success story…